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Messages - knightcrusader

Quote from: knightcrusader on May 28, 2017, 01:13:33 am
Just wanted to point this out incase other people missed it, but after lots of research into wondering why one of my USB 3.0 cards wasn't achieving full speed I finally discovered that PCI Express Slot 3 is NOT PCI Express 2.0. It is 1.1, so it runs at half the speed.

All the other PCI Express slots on the board are 2.0... just not that one. Very weird.

So after pouring through the Intel schematics and docs, I finally figured it out. Others might have already known but it didn't really click until just now.

Our board is a Dual IOH board, which means it has two I/O Hub controllers (the 5520 chipsets). I only thought boards could have one chipset like this, but I guess I learned differently now.  ???

Each Intel 5520 can support 36 PCI Express 2.0 Lanes in x16/x16/x4 configuration. The ICH10R (southbridge) I/O Hub provides an additional PCIe 1.1 interface at x8 width and a traditional PCI bus, not to mention 12x USB 2.0 ports, 6x SATA II, and audio.

On our machines, the gigabit ports are connected to the southbridge I/O hub via PCI Express x1 for each port, and the firewire is attached to the traditional PCI bus.

I found a block diagram in a publication that HP released comparing the Z800 to the Z820. I modified it to add which slot is which on the diagram and am attaching it to this post.

There are a few things I found puzzling about the design:

  • Slot #4 should be a full x16. My hardware scanning utilities haven't found any other x8 devices attached to that IOH so I am perplexed as to why HP nerfed a slot to x8 when it didn't really need to. Would it really save that much money? Maybe they couldn't find a way to fit 8 more lanes on the PCB between the IOH and the slot?

  • It seems Slot #7 and the SAS Controller share a split x16 on the second IOH. If that's the case, where is the x4 from that hub? Why couldn't they make Slot #3 use these lanes instead of the ones from the southbridge that are slower? I hope the answer is engineering and not cost savings cause that would be aggravating.

  • Between the gimped Slot #4 and missing x4 on IOH #2 it seems like we could actually squeeze two more perfectly good PCI Express slots out of this motherboard.... which would be nice cause I currently need them.  :-[

Just wanted to point this out incase other people missed it, but after lots of research into wondering why one of my USB 3.0 cards wasn't achieving full speed I finally discovered that PCI Express Slot 3 is NOT PCI Express 2.0. It is 1.1, so it runs at half the speed.

All the other PCI Express slots on the board are 2.0... just not that one. Very weird.
Quote from: denj on December 15, 2016, 03:03:05 pm
Could you post your make and model of your pci card please?

Sure! Here it is at Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820104544

Man, I'm jealous that its $160 now. I paid $250 for it.
Also - I finally found me a Revision 003 board at a great price. www.ebay.com/itm/132031033325

I offered $80 and they accepted. Now I will probably get 2x X5680's to replace my 2x W5590's.

I would get 2x X5690 but jeesh why the huge price jump from 3.33Ghz to 3.47Ghz? $200 for a 0.16Ghz bump is insane.
Quote from: denj on December 14, 2016, 03:50:18 pm
Has anyone tried adapting M.2 drive for use as a boot drive on the Z800? 

Yes, I am currently using an M.2 PCI Express SSD as my boot drive in my machine, however, my SSD came already installed with the PCI Express adapter card. It's a 240GB Kingston HyperX Predator. Since the Z800 board doesn't know what M.2 is, it can't boot from it, so the SSD or the card (I am not sure which) has a boot option ROM that the bios reads like its a regular storage controller, and lists it as a bootable device.

Been using it for over a year and its worked perfectly well for me.
Okay, this is going to be a long list of parts, so bear with me!  :-\

I had to get my parts from three different vendors. But, with all these parts, I was able to build adapters for all the fans, the front firewire, and the front USB... and most importantly, I have no POST errors on startup.

First of all, the firewire/usb. I got all the parts I needed for this from Polulu. I needed easy to make headers (which I found out are called DuPont connectors) and searches lead me here. They specialize in wiring for embedded systems and robotics, but it also works for us in this case. So, from Polulu, I bought:

Now, not all the connectors on these wires for the headers are straight through - it seems some of them have extra grounds split off to non-standard pins on the firewire header, and it uses this extra ground to detect if its plugged in or not to display the error on POST. So, for these, AND for crimping the wiring for the fan connectors, I got this AWESOME crimper tool:

AND... because we need to crimp some connectors, we are going to need terminals and wire, so I got the following:

So, with the wiring diagrams and those parts, you can have yourself USB and Firewire front headers and no POST error messages. But of course, that is only part of the customization. Next, we go to DigiKey to get the motherboard-side molex connectors for the fan adapters:

And, last but not least, since DigiKey didn't have the connectors I wanted for the fan-side of the adapters, I had to search high and low and finally found a company in China named modDIY that sells the shrouded housings I was looking for:

According to that page, and my order, each one of those connectors comes with the pin, but I wasn't sure how many came, so I ordered some extra just in case, which can be found here. I also want to mention while Digikey has the unshrouded versions of these, I preferred to have the plastic shrouding in the cases that the PWM wire was unused on a fan and wasn't open to making contact with anything else in the machine.

Now, although I listed the minimum amount you need for them all, I ordered a ton of extras since the shipping was flat rate for most everything I got, and I didn't know if I'd mess any of the connectors up or end up building another machine, so I have plenty extras if anyone wants me to make them a set for a small fee.

I will admit it would probably would have been cheaper just to hack the connectors in, but this gave me much more satisfaction knowing that I have semi-professional looking adapters inside my system and not ones that may fall apart at any moment (like I did when I first built it).

If anyone has any questions, let me know. Now that my system is complete, I think I will post some pictures sometime this week when I am home during the day and there is better light.  8)

Edit: Forgot to mention I got a plastic case to put all my excess connector parts in, and took a pic to share. I also have a wire stripper tool I bought at Walmart (of all places) that makes stripping cable jackets a breeze, which I put in this photo.
Quote from: Attilio Fiandrotti on July 05, 2015, 08:49:25 am

Those adaptors look great: may I know where did you buy the connectors, espcially the female connectors that hook up onto the mainboard ?

Thank you! I'll have to get the invoices tomorrow and get you item numbers and links, I had to get the stuff from a few different places to get all the pieces necessary to make these adapters correctly... it was quite a hunt tracking these things down, especially the 4-pin shrouded fan connectors. I had to scan through hundreds of parts to make sure I found the right one because I am all new to this and had no idea what any of this stuff is properly called.
Finally had time over the holiday weekend to make proper fan adapter cables. Woohoo!

Quote from: BenGman on May 28, 2015, 08:11:19 pm
Which two pins? I had a new 5.25" front panel with firewire purchased 8 years ago, 2 different firewire MB adapters (which were underwater for sometime in a 3ft flood I had home) that didn't work... so because of age and possible water damage I still went and bought a new 5.25" front panel to try the firewire (and the new one had USB 3) and it still did not work. The case's front audio didn't work and neither did the audio on both front panels (still got the BIOS message). USB front ports worked but I still got the BIOS error. So all three USB, Firewire and Audio messages still appeared in the BIOS for me so that's why I got HPZ800 front headers. I purchased it from the UK (had it half the price as US) and I had it shipped straight to me instead of going through my US skybox. Purchases from the UK used to arrive within 1 week... this time it took 4 weeks. So to reach the no F1 prompt took 3.5 months!

If I lived in the US/UK it would have been cheaper. If I want to ship a paper clip it costs me US$10 + 3 weeks. I have to pay different freight+VAT+Tax on each small package. So all the different shipments from different suppliers that I needed to get parts.. plus the time to get them here cost too much time and money. If one supplier had the MB, RAM, CPU, MB power cable etc... then it would have been a lot cheaper. So for this project I should have just bought the refurbished 24GB, Dual 5550, in a proper HP case with everything in one package (MB, case, PS, front connectors, fans, etc)... that would have been US$400 for the unit then ~only US$220 freight+tax&vat.

Wow, that is horrible. I forget about things costing so much to ship overseas.

As for the firewire, reference this picture I found on the internet:

Disregarding the key holes being blocked, If you were able to plug this into the 2x7 header on the motherboard with the RED-to-GRAY side up, it would fit directly center leaving a pin exposed on each side and the right connectors would be lined up. What would be missing is an extra ground in the row next to the BLACK wire (which my case's wire actually had populated), and the WHITE wire had a split off to a pin the row under it, and the GRAY wire had a split off to the pin under it (which is usually the blocked key hole on the standard plug).

I ordered a 2x7 header and crimped the wires to match this layout on one end and the standard firewire layout on the other, and the adapter was created. Plugged it in, rebooted once and it complained the first time, but after that it was fine with it (not sure why it complained the first time it was connected).

As for the audio, I connected the HD Audio directly to the motherboard and it stopped complaining, but it didn't work until the Realtek drivers were installed. I thought that was odd, but whatever.

As for the 3-port front-usb connector, I also made an adapter for that too that splits it off into a standard 2 port usb plug and a standard 1 port with the shield ground.

When I take the system down to make better adapters for the fans I am going to take some pictures of my build as I rewire it and share them. I would make some mockups of the pin outs but I haven't reinstalled Photoshop yet.
Quote from: BenGman on May 28, 2015, 04:17:12 pm
Serial Number:
I made up my own serial number in the form of yyyy-mm-dd-<my_initials>-01 with the date being the date I bought the motherboard, and it worked!

I don't think the serial number format even matters. Since my system hostname follows my convention of US state capitals, I just entered Z800_CONCORD and it took it and stopped complaining.

Front Panel:
I caved and bought the HPZ800 front panel connectors. I tried and tried with the schematics that were posted, and the front USB ports DID work, but the main thing was I was still getting those BIOS errors. I wanted the BIOS errors to go away more than I wanted use of those front panel ports.

Full boot up/restart without any intervention, success!

I did the same, but got the Z600 front panel since I could find one cheaper. Come to find out, the firewire pins are pretty much standard, except two pins are duplicated for ground and power. I assume that is what it uses to figure out if its connected or not. I made an adapter that plugs into that and then the standard firewire plugs into that, and it shut it up after one reboot.

Power Consumption:
A (generic) kilowatt meter says that the system alone uses 300W to boot, 250W on no load and 475W on load (Prime95). It is an 80+ Bronze 1000W Power supply. With a single 19" LCD monitor, USB Powered Hub, IR Blaster, 1 externally powered TV Tuner (plus another internal), 2 cable boxes and DSL Router, total power consumption on load reached 520W max. Over a 24 hour period the system uses 30kWh. That does not include 2xCRT monitors I use with the computer that is not connected to the meter (and that I would not connect to a UPS, if/when I do get a UPS). Electricity costs US$0.06 to US$0.20 per kWh right now so the overall power bill is not bad.

I am assuming that its not the total wattage that is killing the PSU but one of the rails is being overloaded at startup. I noticed that the 500W I used was a normal multi-rail PSU while my 750W was a single rail 12V, so I am not sure if that is helping it or not.

Other issues:
Every other hot restart recently I get an error at CPU0 DIMM3. If I pull the plug, let it rest for 5 seconds and power on it boots with no errors. I exchanged a stick from another location and I still get that error at the same location.. (so its location rather than the RAM stick). The 92mm fans are resting on the CPU heatsink (not tied down to anything) and are blowing right on the sticks. Temperature of the RAM never cross 52degC under load so I am thinking my power supply might need to be upped again. I previously got memory errors with underpowered power supplies.... or is it really that the memory is bad? Soon I will disconnect everything and run full memory tests.. I am dreading it because my RAM is no longer under warranty.

Again if I knew now about what it takes to do this hack I would skip it and just buy something already put together, even used. Sky box (Freight forwarder) charges for this build were US$350 with the total cost being US$1670 for only 24GB, Dual 5550s, 256GBSSD, 2x3TB HD, 2GB GT730 Video Card. A proper case, Monitor, KB+Mouse, and UPS is still not included in the cost. I can't resell unless I get a proper case. My fastest computer before this was a 4GB Core i3 Laptop that could barely handle a single SDR trunking decoding session. Before I had 3 dual core computers and a laptop running continuously. Now I only have this one so I could prepare the others for sale. The HP Z800 hasn't failed in any operation I have thrown at it. I use it mostly remotely for several VMware Workstations and dual TV streaming when I am away from home.

No pictures of most of these updates because I have no camera... I sold my phone to my dad to pay for the additions so all I have now is a non touch VGA camera phone with no flash!! I'll post more pics when I could get the phone borrowed.

Would be awesome to see what other people's builds look like. I got the proper molex connectors (even the memory fan connector) today from Digikey so I am going to redo my fan adapters to fit better and not be so "hacky", and in the process I am probably going to take it completely apart to try to get rid of the rat's nest of wires at the bottom of the case.

I still think it was worth the build for me, even with the custom parts. I learned quite a lot about motherboard power distribution and how fans interact with the computer that I never knew before.
Quote from: tangram on May 28, 2015, 07:07:16 am
Yes, no front panel switch. On the board I have the cpus, ram and video card. No fans, usb headers, nothing. The mobo isn't mounted inside a case. I don't know why it starts when i flip the switch on the psu.

The psu is this one:


There is a setting in the BIOS for the board to power up if power has been restored to it, which is what you are doing when you flip the PSU switch. Mine does the same thing, which is what I prefer since I like to have it available to remote in from work when I need to.

As for the wattage, you definitely need more. I thought my spare 500W gold PSU I had on hand would be enough to power just the board and processors to test the core system, but boy was I wrong with that. It would keep rebooting when trying to power up because of the board was trying to pull too much power. It wasn't until I put in my 750W PSU that everything was peachy. I still would feel more comfortable getting a 1000W+ model PSU, but for now the 750W is doing just fine even with all my hard drives, fans, and peripherals connected.
So after a week of not being able to find any info, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  :o

I found a front panel connector from a Z600 on eBay (they seem to share the same headers) and am going to use it to decode the firewire pin out.

I also bought various size headers, 0.1mm terminals, and a crimper to build my own adapter cables for the firewire, USB, as well as back and cpu fans. The only thing I have yet to order (but have located on Digikey) is the plug for the memory fans, as well as male 4-pin fan sockets. I want my cables to look professional so I am sparing no expense... that and I want the damn BIOS to shut up about the missing connectors.  ::)

I'll update when I get them done. If anyone is interested in some adapters for themselves, let me know and I can probably make some up for other people as well (once I get the hang of what I am doing of course).  8)
Quote from: Andy Brown on May 15, 2015, 07:43:59 am
You have to go into the advanced tab and disconnect the fans from automatic sensor control.

Yeah, that was the hardest part for me to figure out... that and figure out which fans were which in the list. I had a PWM1, PWM2, and then another PWM1 and PWM2 coupled with a PWM3. The ones that control the CPU are the second set of PWM1 and PWM2.

Right now I have Speedfan set to respond only to CPU0's temp for both fans, since the only time I stress them is when I transcode and that usually works both processors, but I really should set the fans to respond to their appropriate CPU... does CPU0-3 = Physical CPU 0 and CPU4-7 = Physical CPU 1?
Quote from: BenGman on May 12, 2015, 01:24:07 pm
Memory fan is from top left to right:

TACH, 12V, Ground

Awesome! Thanks! Now just the firewire port to figure out.  8)
Good news everyone! I got my system built!  8)

Z800 board - $88.95
2x Xeon W5590 - $99.90
24GB (6x4GB) DDR3-10600R - $108.00
2x Intel LGA 1366 DBX-D heatsinks* - $39.00
Premade Power adapter cord - $8.36
Cooler Master HAF X Full Tower Case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119225)* - $189.99
5-pack Xeon stickers for the case  ;) - $4.44

Total cost of project: $538.64

Other items were recycled from my current computer: 750W EVGA SuperNOVA PSU, 2x EVGA GeForce 630 GT x16 video cards, USB 3.0 Card, Kingston 120GB SSDNow V300 SSD, 1x Icy Dock 3-bay tool-less hot swap hard drive bay, LG Bluray Burner and LG DVD Burner, and a few hard drives.

The only thing I have left to do is to find the pinout of the Firewire and memory fan plugs so I can use them, and wire up things to the front panel 3-port USB header.

*Heatsink Notes = These heatsinks came with the Core i7 Extreme Edition and they are beasts, and I got them for $20 each brand new. But, like everything else on this build, they had to be modified. The screws that are built into them do not fit the brackets that HP uses. So, I was able to use a pair of pliers to break off the screw assembly (it was riveted to the feet of the heatsink) and then used thumb screws to hold the heatsinks on the board. In two places (one foot on each processor) the feet are way too big and actually hit surface mount components on the board. I had to use small little cardboard laminated washer things I found in a screwdriver kit to raise the metal off the board in those two places, and they work great! The only other thing I did was grind down the fan connector a little to help it slide into the motherboard ports easier.

**Case Notes = This is not an HPTX case, but it DOES work. I took a leap of faith after looking at many pictures on Newegg and was convinced it would work, and my gamble paid off. I was going to go with the DS6 case but I REALLY do not like cases with doors, plus I have always been a fan of Cooler Master case designs. My uncle has a metal machine shop and he fabricated special drill bits to make threaded holes in the case to line up with the Z800 board, and it came out PERFECT. The only other thing we had to do was use a Dremel to cut a small square hole in the hard drive cage to open up access to the power plug on the motherboard... its just a cosmetic thing.